MAY 1&2: OHMA 5th Anniversary Conference: Oral History and Our Times

Oral History Conference _May.jpg

Please join us for a two-day conference exploring the role of oral history in documenting, disseminating and educating students and the public about the central events and concerns of our times — such as the rule of law in America and impact of U.S. detention and rendition policies over the last decade. 

The second day of the conference will focus on the impact of Columbia’s path-breaking Oral History Master of Arts program [OHMA], the first program of its kind in the US, now in its fifth year. The programming will open with lunchtime interactive oral history workshops taught by OHMA students and alumni, free to the public. In the afternoon we will host a series of dialogues between OHMA alumni and faculty, engaging the ways in which oral history research is bridging disciplinary divides and intervening in the intellectual questions of our times.  The day will close with a wine and cheese reception and a multimedia oral history showcase of current thesis work.

Click here to download the full conference program.

OHMA Event Schedule:

12:15-1:45 Free, public lunchtime workshops: Oral History and Psychotherapy, Designing Oral History Projects, and Stories Beyond Digital Tools. Register here to reserve a spot! 

Buell Hall, where the conference will be held

Buell Hall, where the conference will be held

2-4PM Plenary: Oral History Dialogues, with introductory remarks on oral history and interdisciplinarity by Peter Bearman

  • Intersubjectivity in Oral History, Social Work, and Psychology    

OHMA alum Lauren Taylor’s work on her thesis, “Older Women Look Back on Romantic Love: Nostalgia, Idealization, and Imagination,” grew from a complicated intersubjective process in which her own experiences of aging and romantic love fed and shaped her research. In this conversation Taylor, a psychiatric social worker and adjunct professor at the Columbia School of Social work, will discuss how intersubjectivity is conceptualized in oral history, social work, and psychology with Columbia Center for Oral History Director Mary Marshall Clark.

  • Oral History, Environmental Studies, and Community    

Shanna Farrell's OHMA thesis work, "At the Bend: Voices from the Hudson River," focused on how water pollution has, or has not, affected people living along the Hudson. This work was presented as an interactive exhibition at Ossining Public Library in Westchester, New York. In conversation with anthropologist Robin Nagle, Farrell will discuss how oral history is able to add layers of depth and understanding to environmental studies and provide new or alternative perspectives on the intersection of community and environmental degradation. 

  • Oral History, Art Criticism, and Contested Memory

In conversation with Art Historian and Director of Programs at the Judd Foundation Michele Saliola, OHMA alum Jeanmarie Theobalds will discuss what role oral history played in the restoration of 101 Spring Street, a historic 1870 cast-iron building and the former home and studio of artist Donald Judd (1928-1994) and how they are using oral history in the public programing when 101 Spring Street opens. Using this case, they will discuss how oral history and art criticism deal with the complexities of contested memory and make meaning around art.

4:30-6PM Multimedia Oral History Showcase and Reception

Please join us for this multimedia showcase of current Oral History MA student thesis work in video, audio, online and edible forms. Celebrate OHMA's 5th Anniversary and our graduating students with us at a wine and cheese reception while exploring our students' work via interactive stations.

Reem Aboukhater, Pursuing Happiness in Urban Society

Nicki Pombier-Berger, About Us.

Ellen Brooks, Stories of the Skin

Sewon Chung, Listening to Central Park North: An Interactive Oral History Mapping Project

Ellen Coon, Mha Puja

Hana Crawford, How I Learned to Act: An Oral History of Social Performance

Erica Fugger, Sangha Stories: Tales of Engaged Buddhism from the Upper West Side

Miriam Laytner, Brooklyn Storytellers

Kyana Moghadam, A Country Between

Sam Robson, Conversations with Very Forgetful People

Maye Saephanh, A Guerilla's Journey

Elisabeth Sydor, I. Love. America.

Sara Wolcott, Apagie Musha Oral History Project

Support generously provided by the Paul F. Lazarsfeld Endowment.